How to Choose Gratitude When You Are Stressed

It almost felt like a heart attack. But I had never had a heart attack, so I wasn’t sure. After all, I was only 15 years old. I glanced down at my hands tightly gripping the seat in front of me. My knuckles were white because I was holding on for dear life. My heart was racing, and my breathing was shallow and fast. It sure did feel like I imagined a heart attack might feel. Except the pain was different. The pain was more like an ache – like a hole in my soul. It started when the preacher looked out into the large group of teenagers gathered to hear him speak. He pointed his finger at me and seemed to look straight at me as he said, “If you died tonight, where would you spend eternity?” That’s when my so-called heart attack began.

Then it hit me. I wasn’t having a heart attack; I was having a soul attack. There was a hole in my soul, and the only thing that could fill that hole was a personal relationship with Jesus. My mind knew that I had no relationship with Jesus. All I had was a church membership.

As a child, I walked down an aisle, filled out the required church membership card, and was even baptized. Over the years, I did not miss a worship service unless I was deathly ill. I directed a children’s choir and started a group that sang for our church and other churches in the area. The cherry on top of my hypocritical sundae was that I played the piano and sang solos for many worship services. I tried to do all the right things and say all the right words in front of all the right people. It wasn’t enough. I needed Jesus!

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SOURCE: Crosswalk, Mary Southerland